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Legal education and the legal services market


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Slides from the presentation given by Julian Webb (UK Centre for Legal Education) at the 2010 conference: Moving forward: Legal education in Scotland.

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Legal education and the legal services market

  1. 1. Legal education and the legal services market Professor Julian Webb UKCLE
  2. 2. The future of the legal profession?
  3. 3. Market threats (and opportunities) <ul><li>Legal services market is still economically vulnerable </li></ul><ul><li>Shift in balance between admitted/non-admitted staff (leveraging ratios) </li></ul><ul><li>New forms of business practice (MDPs/external ownership) – major implications for practice structures and organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Commoditisation and automation of high volume work </li></ul><ul><li>Growth in legal process outsourcing – Indian LPO market estimated to be worth US$640M by end of 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>Acknowledging that the Scottish market may be less segmented/less commoditised than E&W, but.... </li></ul>
  4. 4. What’s happening in legal education? <ul><li>± 60% of law graduates not entering practice, though about 70% of our entrants want to (but with a limited conception of what that means) </li></ul><ul><li>Traineeship bottleneck </li></ul><ul><li>Concerns about access and diversity </li></ul><ul><li>Relatively light touch regulation of the academic stage </li></ul><ul><li>Greater distance between academic and professional priorities? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010, s.1 <ul><li>For the purposes of this Act, the regulatory objectives are the objectives of— </li></ul><ul><li>(a) supporting— </li></ul><ul><li>(i) the constitutional principle of the rule of law, </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) the interests of justice, </li></ul><ul><li>(b) protecting and promoting— </li></ul><ul><li>(i) the interests of consumers, </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) the public interest generally, </li></ul><ul><li>(c) promoting— </li></ul><ul><li>(i) access to justice, </li></ul><ul><li>(ii) competition in the provision of legal services, </li></ul><ul><li>(d) promoting an independent, strong, varied and effective legal profession, </li></ul><ul><li>(e) encouraging equal opportunities (as defined in Section L2 of Part II of Schedule 5 to the Scotland Act 1998) within the legal profession, </li></ul><ul><li>(f) promoting and maintaining adherence to the professional principles </li></ul>
  6. 6. Pressure points in England and Wales <ul><li>New regulatory bodies (BSB, SRA, LSB) taking an interest in (the quality of) legal education </li></ul><ul><li>Company law and ethics [in context of outcomes-based regulation] as new foundation subjects??? </li></ul><ul><li>Employability – work placements, business skills and commercial awareness at a premium? </li></ul><ul><li>Reforms to vocational training – aptitude (admission) tests and a return to (some) external assessment? </li></ul><ul><li>More structured work-based learning </li></ul><ul><li>All in the context of the REF, reduced state funding and the Browne review of student fees! </li></ul>
  7. 7. Challenges and opportunities in developing legal education <ul><li>Building the continuum between stages of education in terms of methods as well as knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Flexibility vs fragmentation </li></ul><ul><li>Ensuring trainees are sufficiently stretched at the vocational (PEAT 1) stage </li></ul><ul><li>Employability for what (and market differentiation)? </li></ul><ul><li>Tension between achieving current competences, and developing future capability? Implications for methods of L,T&A </li></ul><ul><ul><li>preparing students to deal with uncertainty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing reflective ethical ‘practitioners’ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>making the experience of legal education transformational </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Taking CPD seriously </li></ul>